tv Deadline White House MSNBC August 31, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
♪♪ ♪♪ hi there, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. the clearest picture yet of the criminal investigation into the mishandling of government documents by donald trump thanks to a stunning late-night filing by the justice department. it's in response to the ex-president's request for a so-called special master to review all of the materials seized in the search at mar-a-lago. prosecutors lay out how a straightforward, and on their part good faith effort to retrieve trump's records turned into a criminal probe with potentially historic consequences. one particularly significant moment in the investigation took place just a few weeks ago after trump was served with the grand jury subpoena for his records and his attorneys met with investigators at mar-a-lago in
june. about that investigators say this, quote, the fbi uncovered multiple sources of evidence indicating that the response to the may 11th grand jury subpoena was incomplete and that classified documents remained at the premises. the government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the storage room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation. all of this is what led doj to obtain that search warrant for mar-a-lago. during that search agents found more than 100 classified documents at trump's residence. here's what doj says about that misfiling. quote, that the fbi in a matter of hours recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the diligent search that the former president's counsel and other representative his weeks to perform calls into serious question of representations made in the june 3rd certification and cast doubt
on the extent of cooperation in this matter. this extraordinary photo shows classified documents that were found inside a container in trump's office at mar-a-lago shows documents of secret and top-secret classification markings along with documents labeled sci, sci means sensitive, compartmentalized information which means they contain some of our country's most important national security secrets and secret programs. doj says some of the documents found in the search were so sensitive the agents needed to obtain additional security clearances to just look through them. doj also warns in this filing that trump's request for a special master, quote, would impede the government's ongoing criminal investigation and if a special master were tasked with classified documents would impede the intelligence community from conducting the ongoing review of improper
storage of insensitive materials may have caused. prosecutors add this line essentially eviscerates all of trump's defenses, quote, the former president lacks standing to seek judicial relief or oversight as to presidential records because those records, they do not belong to him. it's where we begin today with some of our favorite reporters and friends. neal katyal is here former acting solicitor general and now a orangetown law professor and plus here at the table, mike schmit, new york times washington correspondent and an msnbc national security contributor and rick stangel, former top official at the u.s. state department and also msnbc political analyst. mike schmit, i start with you. you've covered do j, and you've covered the fbi and have you ever seen this much of detail out at this juncture for criminal investigation? >> well, certainly not in
regards to trump because what you have here is just plain and simple here's what we asked the lawyers and here's what trump's lawyers said and here's what we found and there have been a lot of different points in the trump story where questions of his criminality have come up obviously in the mueller investigation and some people believe in the first impeachment. certainly on january 6th, but i think if you were to talk to legal experts and i'm sure we'll hear from some today, there's a clear-cut nature to this that is different and sets itself apart from the other examples and that's notable, and it's also notable because around january 6th, when different laws that people thought trump may have broken were being thrown around some folks who know the law pretty well would say these are pretty novel, legal theories.
defrauding the united states and you know, laws that most people haven't seen on law enforcement -- we haven't covered the insurrection act in a long time. >> but misleading investigators, and interfering in an investigation is an easier thing for an average person and a jury to understand. we're not having to explain here, you know, trump's powers under article 2 and his freedom of peach and first amendment rights as a politician and what could he say and not say around january 6th. this is simply, the justice department asked this question. this is the response the justice department got when they went to go find out the answer. it completely obliterated what trump's lawyers say and there's a sichl lissity to that that my guess people will say will make this potentially more attractive
certainly in the ice of legal experts to say there's enough there to charge him. >> neal katyal, what we have before us, and i have a sense of how far in the weeds my viewers have gone, and i'm guessing they've gone through this themselves and i want to go through this with your help. they accuse where they have be proable cause to believe that trump absconded classified documents and concealed them and then lied about it and they made pretty clear obstructing the investigation was a play that took place in three detailed acts here in this filing. >> 100%, nicole. to sum up the filing, i think they have trump dead to rights. the department of justice in its filing yesterday basically said first trump stole the documents, second, he lied about stealing them and three, he's now inventing excuses to why he
stole them. if this had been a normal client and a normal set of lawyers we would be talking about a plea agreement right now, and it's clear why trump attacked the integrity of the fbi right away after the search warrant. it's because the fbi found the goods. the evidence is incredibly damning. there's no defense, really, for what he did and we know that because trump is like on social media all the time. he's addicted to it and yet he's still not able to provide any sort of explanation for what in the world he's doing with those documents, like, he's absolutely right. no free speech or executive power argument and not the president anymore and just to pick up on one thing in the weeds for our viewers, there's a story that was told in the filing yesterday, gives strong support to a violation of 18 usc 402. the reason i mention that is
because there's this whole debate trump acolytes that trump had a standing order to declassify these documents. the thing about 402 is are you defying a grand jury subpoena? and the grand jury subpoena which trump got, and it says on there that they're asking for not classified documents, but anything marked as classified and despite that and despite trump getting extension after extension to comply with the grand jury subpoena he didn't turn over the documents and that's why that extraordinary picture you just showed is so important. the classification stuff, we've talked about this before, is besides the point in a lot of different ways like the espionage act and the like, but here you have a clear, simple, easy charge. the grand jury asked for a statement and you didn't provide and the lawyer in a sworn statement said i provided all of
the information. you didn't. >> neal, a former intelligence official said to me today about that picture, it's reminiscence of the pictures that the dea does a massive drug bust and they stack up the bags of cocaine. they said what do they do that? the facts are beyond dispute. there are so much classified information there. if it has aren't been already been charged it may be imminent. do you see it that way, neal? >> 100%. you see the markings like the yellow and red in the photograph, that's done for a very important reason and it's been true when i was in the government, too, it's to provide everyone where a huge alert. this isn't buried in some footnote, oh, this document is classified or anything, and this is overt and obvious in a way that wasn't true, for example, in the hillary clinton dispute where there weren't these kinds of markings and here it's visible for everyone to see and
trump was commanded by the grand jury to search his files and look for this material and it turned out it was in his desk near his passport and in his closet. god knows it seems to be everywhere in mar-a-lago that he was holding classify document and i don't know where he wasn't at this point, and that picture shows anyone would know that because of these bright markings on the docs. >> mike, they seem intent on not in a public relations capacity, but in a legal one, annihilating some of the arguments the ex-president has made. i want to read you what they write about knowledge of declassification that they did return. on june 23rd, three fbi agents and a doj attorney arrive at the premises at mar-a-lago to accept receipt of the materials and another individual was also present as the custodian of records for the former president's post-presidential office. when producing the documents
neither counsel nor the custodian asserted that the former president had declassified the documents nor did they assert any claim of executive privilege. instead, counsel handed them in a manner that suggested counsel believed the documents were classified. the production included a single envelope double wrapped in tape containing the documents. the individual present is a custodian of records produce a letter based on the information provided of me i am to certify on behalf of the office of donald trump a diligent search was conducted of the boxes that were removed from the white house to florida. the search was conducted after receipt of the subpoena in order to locate any and all documents in the subpoena and see that the documents accompany this certification and no reproduction of any kind was obtained. that wasn't true, but certainly they handed these over in the
kind of sack that classified materials are handled. >> there's a points that you were saying that doj laying this out publicly. i find that particularly interesting to me because as someone who covered the clinton email story, was there a lot of criticism of comey for going out and holding his press conference. what comey would say, look, there are extraordinary questions that have been raised that a major political figure was under investigation, and i felt the need to explain that. >> it's clear here that this justice department wanted to reset itself to a time long before -- 20 twefrl or whatever. way, way, way back. >> when doj had to touch prominent political figures. what they seem to be recognizing in the documents and how they're laying it out this action does
raise, troerd near public questions and the department has to be responsive to them. the department easily could have made that document, redacted or -- >> or shorter or whatever. >> yeah, but we were able to see inside of it because someone in the department basically says, look, there is a major political figure, we took an extraordinary action and there needs to be some explanation to this, and -- and the department wrestles with this problem back and forth. how do you explain what's going on when they investigate someone of such consequence? and once again, because of donald trump we get insight into something that we rarely get to see. >> tracy, this former senior intelligence official said to me today that the bar is so high, and it's stipulated, of course, that is unfair. of course, that leaves the majority of americans to believe
that trump is above the law. his supporters want that. even they wouldn't deny it. when you get to this point after 40 pages were, and the lying about where it was storred and how much of it had been returned. it really does turn national security figures' minds to motive. what are your theorys? >> i think that's a great question and that's been my question all along. why? why was he so adamant about not returning this particular set of documents when he had been asked repeatedly and also the even better question now in light of what was revealed last night is why was his attorneys almost i guess fall on that sword to him? what is in those documents that is so important? and i again, this is just hypothetical, but the only reason to not turn over information of that sort is really you are trying to use it
to your own benefit, and i've always felt that i had concerns that trump would ultimately use our national security apparatus for his own kind of personal and political benefit, quite frankly. i wonder if he wanted to use them in future dealings and that's how we work in the espionage world and to hold on to acs information which is protecting our human sources and methods and from the cover sheets that were on them and his ardent refusal tells me that he was holding on to them for his own personal gain or he was worried that they would, perhaps, come out in some way, shape or form and damage him and his own reputation. those are really the only reasons i can think of that someone would do something like that, and you're right. he has been, in a way treated with kid gloves, i guess, if you
will. if i would have done that if i was working at the skiff or the fine i would have lost my job. they extended a courtesy in asking him multiple times to turn them over. >> despite asking multiple times and they go down there and the attestations to doing something they hadn't done at all are just stunning. i think it's the same -- same crimes that mike flinn was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to. lying to the fbi seems to be a barrier to entry to work for donald trump still. >> you have to, to a certain extent treat an ex-president with kid gloves and you can't treat him like a cia officer who has documents like that, and they asked him over and over and that's why we're moving toward a more obstruction case. i'm glad neal mentioned the do you wants themselves. i remember when i was at the state department, at the end of
every day, people would look for any classified -- did you have a safe fund in your desk? >> yes. >> they check that it's locked and they pull the door to make sure that you put the documents back in, but that the safe is locked. >> and has a complicated lock and sometimes they would take them out in the morning when you came there and it is good for people to see that this is not stuff that's hidden in plain sight. in fact, the argument that some trump defenders make that he had classified material amidst personal effects actually shows motive on his part because just as he thought the personal effects are his, he thought the classified documents were his, it's not comfortable and disorganization, all of that is our mind and that's what he may if down for, this -- that gets you through and understanding
when u, they're mine. it's all iend, doesn't it about the lying and keeping about them and having your lawyer attest and where are your thoughts in terms of the 40-page document and trying to ascertain what his motives were? >> there's no defense whatsoever that the documents are mine. they're obviously not his. it's stolen government property and some of which is classified and national defense information and retention of all of it is a crime. i don't think rick said this is just an obstruction case and this is an espionage act and stealing information case. what makes this case so easy and why i think it makes it virtually impossible for merrick garland to look the other way and not indict is the indictment, donald trump's reaction on the search and to
lie, and turn to leal. heed he's got to worry that his own attorneys is going to turn on him. one of his attorneys signed over everything and that trump has authorized her to say that and the other attorney evidently drafted that document. both are implicated in this and both right now are looking very much actively at jail time. they're going to join the ranks of rudy giuliani and john eastman as former trump lawyers who have to hire lawyers now because they're facing criminal indictments, and if you are those lawyers and these are not people who have longstanding connections to trump like alan weisselberg did, they may very well turn on him and there may be no attorney-client privilege because there's something that may allow them to testify.
that's to me is one significant source of risk for trump right now. another is that the filing yesterday was referring to unnamed witnesses, who had before telling, where are these documents floor, and that's why i alloy the search warrant so he's got to hear that. >> as they were lying there was a stream of evidence in real time coming into the fbi that revealed their attestations as to both the location of classified material and the amount of them that remained on the premises. i'm going to pull that up and read that to all of you. everyone sticks around. when we come back, more on this extraordinary new filing and the doj's sprawling investigation into the ex-president. how attorney general merrick garland is making every effort to ensure the politics remains out of it at every level and that he and his team are doing everything by the book. we'll talk more about that, plus
the january 6th, select committee is still very much hard at work. they say they are following the books of what that is. congresswoman zoloft will be our guest. later in the program, an intelligence official who warned the current president joe biden about how much of a potential the national security risk posed as a private citizen. he'll be our guest. all of those stories and more when "deadline: white house" returns after a quick break. stay with us. returns after a quick break. stay with us
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neal, i want to read you this from the filing. it says counsel for the former president represented that all of the records that had come from the white house were stored in one location. a storage room at the premises at mar-a-lago and the boxes of records in the storage room were the remaining repository of records from the white house. counsel further represented that there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the premises and that all available boxes were searched. as the former president's filing indicates the fbi agents and doj attorney were permitted to visit the storage room, critically, however, the former president's counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from looking inside the boxes that remains in the storage room giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remain. this feels like the part where this was bad, obviously, this is what they knew was in there and what they found. these are classified materials, the most secret classification for this photo in the
ex-president's office. what do you learn from the filing in terms of the elaborate efforts to deceive the fbi when they were trying to return the documents into a place where they can assess the damage to national security? >> well, i think, nicole, we have to remember that this filing doesn't occur in a vacuum. it occurs against trump going on social media and his attorneys going and giving interviews saying we fully cooperated with the fbi and the national archivists' requests at every term. and so what you have the justice department doing in this filing is saying not even close to true, and you know, you hid the documents from us. you wouldn't even allow us to go into the storage room and so we had to go and execute a search warrant and lo and behold in the storage room as well as in trump's desk and broom closet and other places they're finding
classified documents all over and to the tune of twice as many classified documents they found in the search then that was voluntarily turned over. i might disagree with mike schmidt and say that this is an extraordinary investigation where the public interest is high and i've got to provide an explanation. rather, i think what he did was i'm going to follow the standard doj rule book, and we'll speak from our filings, nothing else and provide the very limited information that they do in every criminal case and nothing more. the problem here is that trump's own attorneys asked for a special master and they opened the door to the department saying, okay, given the invective in your special master motion and all of the invective you're hurling at us, let us tell the american public and this judge exactly what happened. and they went so far in the filing and this is buried in the
footnote. it's footnote 5 to say don't anyone think that this is just about the retrieval of stolen documents. it's about a lot more. it's about criminal liability. so this is a real overt now to the everyone in case there was any doubt they don't just want the documents back. they are actively looking at criminal charges against donald trump and others and as i said before, i think it's virtually impossible for merrick garland to look the other way, given the way trump has behaved. >> what we do know about merrick garland and today nbc news is reporting he has political appointees who work at doj. nbc is reporting this and merrick garland tightened restrictions on high-level employees by prohibiting them from engaging in partisan political activities. the policy change, announced in a memo a little more than two months before the midterms reverses a long-standing department policy that allowed
political appointees also known as non-career employees to attend fund raisers and campaign events as passive bystanders. >> he is still trying to move the department away from its bar-era image as very much on that president's team. >> it means why he was picked and something like that makes a lot of sense and we obviously saw a lot of thing goes on before the 2020 election with the justice department and the way that it was already drawn in to the election and the way that there were discussions about how voter fraud was going to be investigated and such. so doing something like that and trying to put a greater distance between the department of politics that makes sense and it is in keeping with it. going through that i was thinking, you know, there's been many different iterations of
trump getting, you know, finding himself in a very, very difficult spot whether he was president or after he was president on january 6th and it's a very dangerous position, certainly at the very least dangerous position to be donald trump's lawyer because even pat cipollone who had to testify before the january 6th committee had to hire a lawyer to do that. obviously, earlier in the administration where someone like don mcgahn became a chief witness against the president in an ongoing investigation and needed his own lawyer to do this. now these two lawyers will find themselves in the same situation where they have to go out and figure out what they've gotten themselves into as donald trump's lawyer. >> usually it's a volunteer role. this is what liz cheney tweeted today about the republican party's inability to condemn
what is laid bare in this 40-page filing. she wrote, yet more indefensible conduct by donald trump revealed this morning and again, this image probably seen around the world by now. >> well, defending the indefensible is the republican party line. >> that's who they are. yeah. >> and again, once upon a time where she shows the picture. the picture is the crime and those are top-secret documents and it's like, you know, the comedian who said, you know, don't believe your lying eyes and that's what the republican party line is. in fact, what is so shameful is these crimes are national security crimes and the republican party was once the national security party. they're looking at a way at crimes that on their face, that he's coupled before, and i hope and pray that voters will look at it the same way and there's
evidence that the january 6th hearings that people are beginning to turn away from trump and says he's got way too much baggage. >> about the photo. i understand that they had to include a lot of different legal arguments on this back and forth as they litigate this matter. did they have to improve the photo? >> you have a certain portion of the country saying that evidence had been planted and trump claiming things that they were mark or not marked. >> but you sigh there are trump defendant defenders, that's an example of the fbi against her which is absurd. >> merrick garland is buttoned up and plays it by the book. it explains the law and explains the theory is that is evidence of the crime. i think that's educating the american public and it's perfectly will va id.
>> tracy, to rick's point this is one of the two major political parties in the united states of america not having the ability to say what rick just said, this is a crime. anybody, i don't care where these were found. whoever owned that house committed a crime by having them especially after being asked in april, june, july and august to give them back. what do you do as an intelligence -- not the leaders, maybe you have to bob, weave and navigate our country's political occurrence, but as a rank and file intelligence officer how do you go about your job knowing the ex-president and the most powerful person of one of these two parties left this on his floor? >> so i think the most important thing to remember about those documents is that there's actual sources and human assets behind them. there are human lives behind those documents that may no longer be safe now because their identities may be out there because we don't know who saw all of those documents because
of the very careless way in which they were kept, and i think, you know, as someone who worked at the agency, and i worked with human assets. i recruited them and worked with them overseas, and i think they would be very, very, very apprehensive to work with us in the future because we can't keep their identity safe and i would have to conduct a damage assessment of my assets and take inventory of that, and i also think we need to work at reassuring others would be kept safe and kept secret and that their lives won't be purposely put in danger like they were with these documents. i know it's a picture and we see ts and sci, but we know there was scs information in those documents and that contains sources and methods and those are real human beings that are looking at trying to help protect the united states and
risking their lives to do so, and that's really important. >> the tracy, as you say this in august of 2022, i'm going to pull the interview that general michael hayden who ran the nsa did in 2017. it was before trump had been inaugurated and i mentioned it before, but he predicted this would come to pass based on the way the trump was talking about the intelligence agencies before he was president. he likened them to nazis and here we are. io here with all of your experience and knowledge talking about the risk of this picture and what it means to real intelligence agents not just in this country, but our friends and allies who risk their lives by sharing their work product. thank you so much for helping us understand that tracy wilder, thanks very much. there is so much to talk about with our next guest. zoe lofgren is back and we'll
ask her about threats of political violence that have escalated over the summer and what the committee is focus on as public hearings look to resume again in a few weeks. we'll be right back. don't go anywhere. do n't go anywhere. eed a reliable way to help keep everyone connected from wherever we go. well at at&t we'll help you find the right wireless plan for you. so, you can stay connected to all your drivers and stores on america's most reliable 5g network. that sounds just paw-fect. terrier-iffic i labra-dore you round of a-paws at&t 5g is fast, reliable and secure for your business. when moderate to severe ulcerative colitis persists... put it in check with rinvoq, a once-daily pill. when uc got unpredictable,... i got rapid symptom relief with rinvoq. check. when uc held me back... i got lasting, steroid-free remission with rinvoq. check. and when uc got the upper hand... rinvoq helped visibly repair the colon lining.
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♪ ♪ we believe there's an innovator in all of us. ♪ that's why we build technology that makes it possible for every business... and every person... to come to the table and do more incredible things. the trump campaign used these false claims of election fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations were for the legal fight in the courts, but the
trump campaign didn't use the money for that. the big lie was also a big ripoff. >> january 6th committee member and our next guest congresswoman zoe lofgren who played the leading role and that's where this is from back in june and focused on the disgraced ex-president who knew he lost and still used the big lie to ripoff his own supporters tricking small dollar donors to fund his inner circle and the rally that preceded the campaign attack and now republican congressman adam kinzinger tells nbc news that the committee is digging deeper into the post-election fund-raising lies signaling that it could be one of, quote, the missing pieces the committee focuses on when they come back in september. joining us now california congresswoman zoe lofgren. i wonder when this story sort of exploded if that benefited the committee to be out of the limelight to do the investigative work before they return to public hearings in the
fall. they've been busy all summer. certainly the staff as well as the members of the committee meeting, we meet often virtually and we're working to get ready for our full report as well as some hearings that we're hearing in september. it is a lot of information, and you know, we're on the second half, obviously, of the investigation, but we are still finding new things. >> the secret service incident was one of the -- well, it was, it was one of the most dramatic revelations that we share with the public and the public hearing and subsequent hearings and congressman kinzinger said there was more information and evidence that's been developed and can you talk about mr. ornato makes him a more
cooperative witness? >> i have no idea, but we do have a lot of concerns about the secret service. there were a lot of things that seemed like pretty weird coincidences and they were told to preserve all of the records 11 days later. they erased all of the records. we were trying to get information in a collaborative way for almost a year, and it wasn't until we subpoenaed them that really an avalanche of new information started to come in. so, yeah, we have a lot of concerns about the secret service. i don't want to disparage many fine employees of the department who risk their lives defending people and chasing bad guys, but there is a concern about some aspects of the services' behavior and we need to uncover
it. >> with donald trump's obstruction of the criminal investigation that is at the core of the mar-a-lago search, a question of his obstructive conduct, vis-a-vis, investigations that touch him or threaten him and the patterns are familiar and the committee has shared evidence with the public and i wonder if that conduct is ongoing on the part of the president and his allies. >> it is something that we are alert to, and i think we have publicly mention the concern that the trump world has paid for lawyers for some of the weaknesses and the possibility for coercive action in that case. so that's something that is of great interest to the committee and we are, i think, learning some more things about that that
we will at the proper time reveal. >> has there been any more or deeper sharing of your transcripts with doj? >> there's an ongoing discussion, as you know, doj is different than the legislative committee. they don't share anything with us, and they shouldn't. that's not a proper role for them, and we have our own legislative lane that we are working on, but we are certainly not in a hostile condition with doj. >> can you characterize the volume of requests that you're getting from doj? are they ongoing? >> i really can't, and i do think that it's pretty obvious from when we've seen in the news that they have their own active investigation and actually, they have a much greater opportunity to compel testimony than the legislative committee does and we'll see that they are doing that. >> i mean, that's clear from the
redacted affidavit that they have active high-level witnesses that are cooperating with them. i want to ask you about evidence that -- that may have made it not seem shocking, but it is shocking. the committee presented such a compelling and horrific portrait of donald trump's enthusiasm for watching had the own supporters on the ellipse and his enthusiasm and devotion to be with them as they storm the capitol and carry ared out violence thanks more brutal than combat with the law enforcement officials defending the capitol. when you hear or see his lawyers threaten unrest and you hear his closest ally lindsay graham warn of riots, what is your base level concern about the talk and the normalizing on the american right about the violence? >> it is of great concern.
we saw before january 6th the ex-president stoking grievance, really, with lies and stirring up his supporters to the point where violence occurred on january 6th. he is stoking grievance again among his supporters and allowing some of his stand-ins such as senator graham to float the idea of violence. i don't think it's responsible to do that. we've seen that people who are maybe not as well balanced as we would hope act on some of these suggestions. we've already seen some threats to law enforcement, and i think president biden is right. all of us who are elected leaders and that includes republicans. need to stand up and say this is not acceptable. violence is not an appropriate
political tool and i'm still waiting for my friends across the aisle. i'm not hearing any republicans say that. they need to. >> liz cheney tweeted out the picture of all of the -- not all, but some of the classified materials seized in the search of mar-a-lago and talked about more indefensible conduct from donald trump. to your point, it's been defended. most republicans didn't find it indefensible at all and they're deflecting and attacking on all fronts. at least three government agencies have had to harden security, the irs, the fbi, and the national archives just in the last ten days. what is the circuit breaker for this climate? is it holding donald trump accountable? >> well, i think we need to hold republicans in the house and senate accountable.
you know, jim jordan, who if republicans were to take the majority would chair the house judiciary committed tweeted out something basically saying the fbi found a "time" magazine cover. that's absurd. you can see the pictures of the secret and top secret material that had been apparently intermixed with magazine covers and the like that -- it's just inexplicable how this could be defended. when you have human intelligence you've got people who if they are discovered can get killed. people who are providing information to help the united states in our national security. every one of us from right to left ought to be defending those individuals that are trying to help our country, not exposing them to potential elimination by our national adversaries.
so i really do think people in this country need to demand leaders in both parties to step up to the bat and condemn this violence, and that's when it's going to take. >> you and congresswoman cheney, i think, have taken the lead on working to reforms to the elect ral count at. is that something that needs to be passed before november? >> i don't know if it would be at the end ploy and we have a pretty good work product and we'll be collaborating with our senate partners to see if we can meld different versions and have the best possible reform effort, and i think it will be important. i mean, john easton himself indicated that his plan violated the electoral count act and it
violated the 12th amendment and it isn't in any way legal and the way it is written, it allows those who want to violate it to have a better opportunity to violate the law and we can tighten that up and we should. >> are you in any position to help those of any position to help those of us plan for when in september they may take place? >> well, i always leave those announcements to the chair and vice chair, so i'll have to disappoint you today. >> but we should be ready? we should be prepared to stay late and watch more public hearings in early september? >> as the chairs announce, we will have at least one public hearing in september. my guess is this isn't a formal announcement, that it's going to be very tough to get the entire report done by the end of october, but we'll have some key findings and it's just -- i mean, there's such a volume of information to be displayed and
conveyed and hopefully in a way that's accessible to the american public. so we're working hard on that this summer as well. >> congresswoman zoe lofgren, thank you so much for spending some time with us and doing your best to answer our questions. we're grateful. >> take care. a quick break for us. we'll be right back. ♪ well, the stock is bubbling in the pot ♪ ♪ just till they taste what we've got ♪ ♪ ow, ow ♪ ♪ with a big, fresh carrot ♪ ♪ and a whole lot of cheese ♪ ♪ and the mirror from your van is halfway down the street ♪
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guest standing. we've been talking about these "time" magazine covers being among his prized possession, along with his hoarded illegally stored classified materials. having edited that magazine, it feels like his obsession with "time" covers, we should note you can go to a gift shop and they'll put your face, right? i have a 10-year-old, we put him on a sports magazine. trump was into that too. it is always about trump's depiction to the outside world, and i wonder after listening to sort of an hour of national security voices and others what your theories are about not why he took them but why he kept them and lied about it? >> well, remember he had that one, that phony framed coever that he like a pr agent had put together for him like trump firing on all cylinders at mar-a-lago, and that was framed. terrible headline. but i look at that because the cover that was framed there in that picture is one that shows all the opponents of trump in
the 2020 election. in fact, there's a picture of biden in the frame looking into the oval office. so it's actually not a flattering depiction, but he's like a creature of the 1940s and '50s of that pr world where no bad publicity -- all bad publicity is even good publicity. he just thought anything that has his face on it and his name on it is something that's to his benefit. it's kind of a childish view, but that is how he looks at it. he may even look at what he's going through now with the classified do you means as something that may turn out to be good for him. >> he's back in the news. >> he's back in the news. can't get away from him. >> rick stengel, thank you for being here for the hour. up next for us, we will have an opportunity to speak with a veteran of the intelligence community, one of the very first voices to warn that once out of office, the twice impeached ex-president was not to be trusted with our nation's most sensitive secrets, that official, sue gordon will be our
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should former president trump still receive intelligence briefings? >> i think not. >> why not? because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection. >> you've called him an existential threat, you've called him dangerous. you've called him reckless. >> yeah, i have and i believe it. i just think that there's no need for him to have that intelligence briefing.
what value is giving him an intelligence briefing? what impact does it have at all other than the fact he might slip and say something. >> it's 5:00 in new york, it was an unprecedented step at the time. right after he took office president joe biden said he would ban his predecessor from receiving intention briefings. they're typically often provided to former presidents. "the new york times" explained the move this year, quote, the first time that a former president had been cut out of the briefings which are provided partly as a courtesy and partly for moments when the sitting president reaches out for advice. currently the briefings are offered on a regular basis to jimmy carter, bill clinton, george w. bush and barack obama. sue gordon who served as deputy director of national intelligence from 2017 until 2019, who the times described adds one of the most respected intelligence officers of her generation made the case for cutting off trump's access to
sensitive information. in an op-ed in "the washington post" shortly after the capitol insurrection, she wrote this, quote, his post-white house security profile as the professionals like to call it is daunting. any former president is by definition a target and prevents some risk, but a former president trump even before the events of last week might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent. gordon went on to describe how her experience with the former president influenced her decision, quote, i briefed him many times, participated in scores of meetings with him as his principle deputy director for national intelligence. while i resigned my position in 2019, this is not a personal grievance. as an intelligence professional, i have gone out of my way not to judge his policy or personal actions publicly. this is an intelligence assessment born of my years of experience. now in light of what we learned from last night's stunning filing from the department of
justice, gordon's recommendation and biden's action on it are clearly very well-founded. the doj's filing provided the most detailed accounting yet of the government's long, long efforts to retrieve classified information from the twice impeached ex-president. it stated that during the august 8th search at mar-a-lago, quote, the government seized 33 items of evidence, mostly boxes, because they contained documents with classification markings or what otherwise appeared to be government records. three classified documents that were not located in documents but rather were located in the desk in the 45 office were also seized. the filing also are reveals that the department, quote, developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the storage room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation. this is where we begin the hour
with the aforementioned sue gordon, one of our country's most foremost intelligence experts and professionals. she spent more than 30 years in the intelligence community, more than 20 of them at the cia where she was involved in, among other high stakes operations, the raid to kill or capture osama bin laden. she's been briefing american presidents since ronald reagan when she was 4 years old, as we mentioned that includes former president trump when she served as principal deputy director of national intelligence which in plain english means she was the number two, the second most seen senior intelligence official in the united states of america. it's a pleasure to get to talk to you. thank you so much for taking the time today. >> you bet, great to see you. >> can i ask just as a basic question. >> sure. >> how was -- what was donald trump like around classified documents? >> so it's a great question. listen, he was -- i think the first thing you need to know is the intelligence community always treated him as the
president, which meant we shared with him any and all information that we believed the president needed, regardless of classification. so that's step number one. step number two is i think he was an interested consumer. he did not come into office nor during his time in office as i observed, develop any particular understanding of the craft and discipline of intelligence. in other words what's special about it, how does it differ from what you read in "the washington post," "the new york times" as remarkable as those journalistic publications are. but so he had access to it all. we briefed him all. he was the president. he had his duties to carry out, but it was my experience that he didn't appreciate the particular nature of the craft and discipline of the intelligence so that made him not understand what was being protected. and i guess, nicolle, the thing
i would just say that is lost here is you can't tell what's classified or important or the level just by looking at it. you can see something sensational, and that can be something that is ultimately available, and you can see the most mundane sentence, and it is singularly indicative of some intention or some action, and so this idea that anyone can just casually assume what is really classified is just false. and the same thing i would say goes for the president. i just don't think that he acquired that appreciation. >> you said a bunch of really important things. i want to try to unpack them. i mean, not understanding the craft, what he said publicly went beyond not understanding the craft, and i assume by that you mean the professionalism and the way all of the product is curated and culled and vetted before anything's presented to him, the partnerships, the
alliances, the people who risk their lives to develop and corroborate information before it's ever presented to a president. that craft was lost on him. >> and how long it takes and what it takes and who risks their lives in order to give us the information we need in order to provide both national and global security. you know, intelligence isn't opinion. intelligence is the discipline by which you take fundamentally uncertain information and work it so the decision-makers can deal with it with a kind of certainty. but within each sentence, there are untold years, untold risks, and untold relationships that are buried within, and that in addition to the particular piece of information is what you're protecting. so when you don't understand that or you say, i think this is something i can share and you've got to understand that, you are potentially unraveling networks
that have taken years to build and are at the corner stone of global security. >> were you ever involved in having to do a spill assessment based on concerns that he'd shared something? i know the one that is really public facing is his oval office mot meeting with sergey lavrov and i know h.r. mcmaster ran, did not walk to assure the press he had not endangered sources and methods or allies and methods with lavrov. there were other incidents he would tweet out photos. he was constantly trying to push sensitive information into the public domain where it served him. >> so anytime information was shared outside the channels that would normally be used to control it, we routinely assessed what the impact of that
would be. now, it is true that a sitting president does have many authorities to make decisions in his role about national security, and i just think this is one of the things that gets so lost. we have access to classified information to serve the nation's interests. individuals when. the president did as i did and some others, you are a steward of the nation's interests, and so you need to be considering those interests when you make every decision, right, so a sitting president makes those decisions that is in his role as the president about what's the nation's interest. that an entirely different role when you are a private citizen as he is and i am now. that doesn't mean at some point
the nation can say we need the former president or we need sue gordon to have access to information anew, but when you're no longer in office, you are not the keeper of the nation's interest and consequently your authority and responsibility changes. >> but sue, he's clearly talking about declassification in the context of personal criminal liability, not the context you're describing, right? >> and so there's just no -- you know, the act of declassifying is not a personal act. it's not an act for preference. it's not an act because i want to, because i want to do something. it's because it serves the national or the public interest. it's a process that you go through that you work with experts to say if i declassify this, what will the impact be and can we bear it? it isn't something casually done regardless of whether you have the authority to do so or not, and it isn't in order to protect yourself or to aggrandize yourself. it's an entirely different
thing, and so this discussion about authority to declassify, it is not for personal reasons even if it temporarily resides in a person. ever. >> and that is the only way it's being discussed. he couldn't have broken the law because he had the authority. no one in the national security -- not even establishment, but no one ever touched the national security role is even interested in whether he had the authority or not. they're interested in what has been jeopardized, and i wonder when you read and not just the picture for the shock value, but when you read the programs that may have been jeopardized, can you take us inside what avril haines is likely having to undertake in terms of the assessment you kind of -- the assessment that you would have had to do if you were still there? >> yeah. so listen, the act of classifying the classification system, you know, has some very specific guidelines. and it isn't casually done
either. and it's all about the value and specificity and information and/or the sources and methods used to acquire, and those have levels of protections implied depending on how exquisite either the information or the access is. so i am sure that team is going through every document making sure that it understands that it represents that kind of classified information and then looking at the impact of loss that usually comes down to what advantage are we deriving from it, whether it is in partnership, in methodology, or in the information itself. and they're breaking it down. they're breaking it down by paragraph. this is not going to be an exercise where they just blanket
over classify something. they will look at each piece of information. there are professionals who look at classification and classification levels, and they will be combing through this piece by piece. nicolle, the other thing that they'll be -- that they know that i don't think we're talking about much, and that is our adversaies and competitors have a voice in this. listen, don't be mistaken, foreign threat actors who now know that information that we deem important has been, was recently in an unsecured location. they have the wherewithal and the interest in going after that, and they're going to be looking at that too. so we're talking about it as though it's specific just to the person, donald trump, i'm talking about the reason why we have these rules, the reason why i wrote that op-ed is you don't
even have to be going after an individual to know that this action by any individual is putting the nation at risk, and our adversaries and competitors will take any advantage and we created an opening that is a much lower guard than they typically have to cross. >> and when you wrote the op-ed with that warning, how did you know that he would be a national security risk? >> well, i think part was how important it is that you understand what you're protecting. the other is how important it is that you understand that people will be coming after you, and they're pretty slick, and you don't even have to conspire with them in order for them to be
able to work magic to try and get your information. so we had a president that had access to everything, who had in my estimation not a really complete understanding of what he was protecting, and his engagements who he works with, you know, the fact that he has foreign businesses knowing that he would be in situations where he could be bumped by adversaries who would want the information he had. i mean, you just knew that. and all you had to do was apply the need to know that is applied to any officer at any level to say he just didn't have the need to know. and the remarkable thing about this is if the day came where the nation decided he needed to know, there would be nothing that would keep him from getting proper access to the material that he improperly has been
storing. >> well, this is the question i wanted to ask you, i mean, i've talked to a former -- someone who knows and worked with you, a former senior u.s. intelligence official who said that if he were a normal president and he said i need these things, can you build me a scif, and can you send down a briefer so that i can stay current on these topics, that may very well have been arranged for him. >> maybe. >> it feels like where he's in trouble and a risk to national security and maybe at risk of having committed egregious crimes, maybe even including violating the espionage act, is that he lied about it. i mean, when you -- i don't know if you read this 40-page filing from last night, but it's clear that everything you're talking about is in the national security bucket. but the questions only begin when you read how hard she tried and how many lawyers may face charges for lying to the fbi lied for him.
what explanations do you come up with? >> the first thing i say is zero defense. i cannot imagine a defense for the situation in which we find ourselves. there's just -- there's just no justification. there's no excuse, no defense. zero. from a national security and from a person involved. motivation is a much harder thing to ascribe and i'm usually loathe to say what i think other people are thinking. my experience is that the former president has his agenda and he will use whatever is at his disposal to advance that. the problem we have here is that
depending on what agenda issues forth, he has had at his disposal for a long period of time information that if he used that information to advance an agenda item, it couch devastating consequence to national security. but i can't think of a simpler way to say why i think that this moment is so difficult, and that's because there's no justification and knowing who he is, and that he doesn't fully understand but he may not decide to protect if he wanted to do something different. this is a tough situation. i am glad that we have worked so hard to recover the information, but i fear that it has been in essentially the public domain for a long time.
>> what you are describing is absolutely hair raising and i just want to be sure i understand it. "the new york times" has reported that he packed the boxes, so to your point, even if he didn't understand it, he was interested in what he was interested in. and what you're laying out is that the conduct and the recklessness with which some of the most secret classified materials and you're right, not necessarily because of what they say but because of what programs they may reveal or what methods they may reveal may be in his possession, it sounds like it is. if his agenda is served by jeopardizing those things, he will pursue it? >> yeah, i will hope and i always hope that the president understands the responsibility he carries, and one of those responsibilities was the protection of national security information, so i will hope that as he conducts the rest of his
life he understands the responsibility that he had to protect that information, but i don't know that there's any reason that he should have taken it. there's no reason that he should have taken it, and i can't think of any reason why he should use it, but for a period of time that opportunity existed if he forgot the responsibility he carries for the rest of his life to protect the information that he had access to. i'll hope that he does. but the circumstance is worrisome. >> did you see him wrestle with those two things, trying to remember the office he held and trying to pursue his own agendas? >> i don't -- i don't know that i ever thought about it in those terms, but i think where i started when i say i think the intelligence community always briefed him responsibly and what
i mean by that is he was the president of the united states, and we treated him as such. the assumption is always that the president of the united states understands his responsibility. in taking those documents out of the building is the first step of showing he didn't. what he's going to do with that information, i will hope that it kicks in again. >> do you feel that what you've read in the affidavit and the filing are the first times you've seen him as a threat to u.s. national security and the intelligence community? >> everyone that has access to special information and holds position is a target. anyone who forgets that and acts
outside the security rules that are set up in order to help them protect that presents a threat whether it's a purposeful one or whether it's an inadvertent one. so if you forget that you're a target and you don't follow the rules, you've opened yourself and consequently us up. >> did trump see himself as a target just simply due to the fact you just articulated because of his possession and access to our most sensitive secrets and programs? >> again, i'm always hesitant to say how someone thinks about themselves. i believe the president thought that he was above a lot of rules because he didn't need them, but i also would never presume to
know what was in someone's heart. >> when you read that he traveled with boxes of classified materials on foreign trips and they were carted from hotel room to hotel room, i traveled the world with condi rice and steve hadley as national security adviser and deputy national security adviser. i had a stroke on their behalf when i read that. there's one thing that governs how classiied materials are handled inside a white house, but another one when you take a foreign trip. and lots of times, and the technology was totally different, but we didn't always have our blackberries at every stop. sometimes we left them. in terms of what we're learning, were your daily nightmares when you worked in your old job on behalf of someone who didn't think the rules applied to him? >> okay. so in his official capacity he had a lot of rings of professionals around him to help him execute, to help protect not
only him, the information that he possessed and also the material he carried with him. so probably worried a bit less about that. now i go back to what i said, nicolle. the reason why you held your breath is that our adversaadver our adversaries recognize the value of not only individual but what the individual has and especially physical documents, and you always worry, and they are sophisticated services with lots of ways technical and human to go after things. so i just think anyone who suggests that this situation of highly classified documents being out of a secure facility relatively unprotected for a long period of time in a known way doesn't -- didn't represent
a significant security threat, just doesn't understand that there actually are people out there who would do us harm, and it actually doesn't even take complicity on the part of the actor in order to provide the opening for that damage, and so when i say this problem of lack of understanding is especially difficult, it's because you have to be vigilant, and i don't think that's a word that we would have ascribed to him from a security perspective. >> the understatement of the century there, sue gordon. it is a true privilege to get to talk to you and i really -- i have to thank you for expanding exponentially our understanding of what's on the line for our whole country, for every one of us who benefits from the work, the quiet, anonymous work of the united states intelligence agencies. thank you so much for speaking on your own behalf but on theirs as well. i'm really grateful. >> thanks, nicolle.
when we come back, frank figliuzzi and harry litman are standing by. they'll react to what we heard from sue gordon about the risk that the documents at mar-a-lago has put the intelligence community in. we'll talk about all of that as well as what we learned in that 40-page filing that came out around midnight last night from the justice department. and later in the hour, those international inspectors are on their way to the massive embattled nuclear power plant in ukraine looking to head off catastrophe there while the war rages on all around them. we'll get a closer look at how ukraine's counteroffensive against the russian invaders is going today. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere.
joining us now frank figliuzzi, former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence. he is now thank god an msnbc national security analyst. harry litman is also here, former u.s. attorney, former deputy assistant attorney general, now the host of the talking feds podcast, and thank god he clears his schedule when we call. i'm still processing sue gordon's very sort of carefully calibrated reveal that donald trump never appreciated the craft of intelligence and, therefore, she wrote that op-ed to cut him off from the briefings, and it just broadens the time line, i think, for me, frank, that he's been a threat ever since the day he walked out of the building because he never knew what it was that he had. >> he was the insider threat. he's now an external threat. the risk continues.
sue gordon really did encapsulate the threat and risk moving forward by discussing what she's experienced in the past as well. what do i mean by that? you know, all of us in government on our last day, no matter rank, i'm sure this was true for sue gordon. i'm sure it's true for john brennan who headed the cia and is an msnbc analyst. your last day you get debriefed. you get debriefed, and some person who you may not even know, maybe is 12 steps, you know, removed on the organization chart from security, comes in and says, sir, i just got to do your outbriefing. you know you're not supposed to talk or divulge anything, blah blah blah, you sign it. it's taken quite seriously, and it's done. the problem is, you know, none of us go and take boxes of documents home with us that are classified, but this president did. it begs the question was he ever
truly debriefed? when is somebody going to go to mar-a-lago and have him sign the document that says i'm not telling anybody about what i've been hoarding here at mar-a-lago, and then in terms of risk assessment, nicolle, that is a monumental task when you're talking about mar-a-lago. how many people had access to his office, the 45 office as it's referred to in the search warrant. the items found in his desk drawers there, were those drawers locked? was the office to his -- the door to his office locked, if not, who had access. if yes, who had the keys. how about the server who comes in and serves him diet coke 12 times a day. would they see a top secret document lying on his desk at mar-a-lago? could they open the drawer after he left for the day? this is the kind of thing that's going on. sue gordon referred to the kind of targeting that's going on in terms of a foreign intelligence service selecting the softest target to go after. it's not the white house, but
you bet when a president lives at a golf resort, you bet that's the softest target. so that waiter that serves the diet coke, that cleaning person on the custodial staff, targets. always have been for the past five years and now with the realization of what was stored at mar-a-lago, you bet foreign adversaries are still trying to get that type of person recruited, and the fbi's job, the intelligence community's job identified that universe of people, sat them all down, figured out who's done what to whom and when. >> and harry, and again, it's not that anyone's impugning the motives of the waiter or the valets, what frank's talking about is if you work for foreign intelligence agency, those are the targets to try to recruit to help them either wittingly or unwittingly, and sue gordon paint ed a terrifying picture of
just how long those state secrets and programs that may to the untrained eyes may not sound -- the existence of that intelligence may be what is so guarded and protected and i wonder, harry, how -- i mean it is so sobering that it made me wonder what took our country 18 months to go get it back. >> and we do know that, and it's basically his brazenness, repeatedly at gunpoint. you know what, impugn because there are hundreds of people. it's not simply somebody might wander by and say, oh, this looks interesting. think of the sophistication that we learned about with the russians during the 2016 election. we have hundreds of people dedicated to the task of paying money or blackmailing people or do whatever it takes to really get any of those waiters or whatever, and it's not just them. the reason we've heard you have
to take your phone off before you go into a scif. if you go in, at least certain adversaries can see everything you see if they're sophisticated enough and hear everything you hear. it doesn't even have to be in person. and these are people who dedicate their lives to trying to probe for just such weak spots. and one other point to reinforce what frank said, i had the same debriefing, and i was suddenly a ghost. you have to be escorted out of the building you've been in for years, and you know you're immediately someone who as the department said yesterday of trump has no standing or interest in any of the things that trump just carted out by the wheelbarrow full. so it really is horrifying to think about just what might have happened already, even if we assume that finally after a threat to tell congress and a subpoena and a search we now
have all the documents. 18 months we had them, man, oh man who knows. >> i keep thinking of the people he remained close to. the people who received pardons were obviously very much in his debt. and they were the same kind of people who prior to trump presidency were very amenable and close to people like vladimir putin. you also have john bolton who's already alleged that trump's ties to his business dealings in turkey impacted his foreign policy vis-a-vis erdogan. what about the kinds of people who remained close to donald trump after the insurrection and have reportedly been in and out of mar-a-lago? >> that's why the risk assessment that's going on right now and really should never be delayed by appointment of a special master in my opinion as doj argued is so monumental. it's large. you know, you're right. there were pilgrimages after
pilgrimages after trump left office of all kinds of high ranking people who wanted to pay homage, wanted to get close, stay close. you name it, they came down, and they said hello. played golf, kissed the ring, and that's inside government, outside government. how many of them potentially were shown documents, even for check this out, look at this satellite photo. look what i saved, a souvenir that is derogatory about a foreign leader perhaps. look what i've got. how many of them said nothing? how many of them need to be interviewed? all of them. how do you identify them? interesting, news reports of who traipsed down there in florida to say hello, lots of people we know about, many we will never know about. that's part of the risk assessment, and nicolle, we're even learning more, last night's doj filing, we're learning more about the sensitivity of the documents that were requested
even in the subpoena that was issued, never mind the search warrant. there's clues now, we see for the first time the entire subpoena attached to last night's doj response, and that really has got me concerned. >> talk about why you flagged some things in that subpoena for us, frank. >> yeah, so for the first time we're seeing the entire subpoena. it just happens to have been attached to doj's response. remember, this was back before the search, and what do we see that we're asking for, and i've got to credit devlin barrett of "the washington post" with this, he's got a piece out that mentions this. i chatted with him today. he was up until 2:00 a.m. really looking at everything, but we've been glossing over the attachment, which is the subpoena, and lo and behold, it says on there that they're requesting s/frd marked
documents. well, s/frd is nuclear. it's nuclear. and in fact, you know, you're likely to hear people misinterpret this because frd technically means formerly restricted data, but don't be fooled. s/frd means it was formerly restricted under the atomic energy act, and guess what, it's now considered classified because it's been moved to military use. so what was once perhaps research for nuclear energy purposes was suddenly turned over to the military for potential weaponization use. that's s/frd. they were looking for that in the subpoena. would they just toss that in for grins? would they say hey, let's throw in s/frd, see if he's got any of that. no they would not. they would have a reason for including that amongst the kinds
of documents they were searching for. that's in the subpoena. >> harry, i'll give you a quick last word. these documents seem to represent a whole lot of probable cause to believe that donald trump committed crimes. is that a fair assessment? >> that is a fair assessment, and especially once we know about the subpoena, then we have obstruction. we have knowledge and concealment. if they themselves put it out there, i'll just say one more thing about the classification itself, which is it shows, they very cleverly say mark classified. they anticipate the argument of trump that i've declassified everything. anything that has that marking, we don't care if it actually has that classification. >> frank figliuzzi, and harry litman, always invaluable, in these days absolutely essential. thank you for spending some time to talk to us today. ahead for us, ukrainian officials are reporting early success in that counteroffensive
against the russian military. it comes as international inspectors look to head off a potential catastrophe at europe's largest nuclear power plant. a quick break, don't go anywhere. don't go anywhere love you. have a good day, behave yourself. like she goes to work at three in the afternoon and sometimes gets off at midnight. she works a lot, a whole lot. we don't get to eat in the early morning. we just wait till we get to the school. so, yeah.
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territory, i mean, there at the plant with risks that that entails, do not allow me to say that it's going to be risk free, but it's something that we need to do. >> that was rafael grossi, the director general for the international atomic energy agency. he was speaking there to reporters upon arriving with his team in zaporizhzhia on their mission to safeguard europe's largest nuclear power plant amid fears of a nuclear catastrophe. the team will head 70 miles to the plant tomorrow as they hope to tour the facility. when they do that, they will find a plant that has become one of the centers of conflict in the war, including last night where both russia and ukraine accused one another of shelling near the facility. despite getting assurances from russia that the inspectors will be allowed to carry out their work in peace, the u.n. team's mission is a dangerous one that has the eyes of the whole world upon it. david sanger writes the team
faced a situation that few have ever envisioned. a vast nuclear power plant that could be deliberately turned into a potential dirty bomb with russia using it to intimidate its enemy and the world. joining us from the u.s. ambassador to ukraine, william taylor, now vice president for russia at the u.s. institute of peace. we've been keeping an eye on this story. this has obviously been a russian tactic. it feels like it is both a battlefield tactic and a terrorism tactic. talk about what you think will transpire when they sort of the u.n. officials get there and in some ways it could become an even greater target for putin. >> it could, nicolle. the importance of this visit is to reassure the u.n., reassure the ukrainians that the plant is well operated, that the russians are allowing the ukrainian
operators to do their job. the most important part of that operation is to talk to the ukrainian operators, the people who actually run the plant, are responsible for the operation and security and the upkeep and the maintenance, all it takes to run a big nuclear power plant. so the u.n. team being able to talk to these people and to see if they are allowed to provide the security assurances and the safety assurances that must go on. so this is an important visit that will give ukrainians confidence and the rest of the world as well. >> let me just read some of the reporting just niek clear to our viewers how the russians are uses the nuclear power plant. putin has found a way to employ the civilian facility as shield for his troops who are occupying the facility and betting that ukraine will not take the chaps chance of shelling it. at times putin also appears to
have found a way to employ the plant as a strategic auxiliary to his nuclear arsenal. the idea that a nuclear power plant would be caught in a conflict, that's why the plants were designed to withstand an attack. quote, that the idea that a plant would be used as a shield for forces occupying a plant or that someone like putin would use the risk of attacks or accident as a form of intimidation, i don't think that was something we fully contemplated. what is the -- it feels like there's no margin for error when you're talking about a nuclear power plant. just talk about how the ukrainians have to balance this. >> the ukrainians do have to balance it. the ukrainians clearly don't want anything bad to happen. they don't want an explosion. they don't want damage done to the plant. the ukrainians are not liable, they're not interested at all in shelling that plant.
as you said, as you've indicated that the russians are using that plant as a shield, but the ukrainians are not going to target that plant for attack. they want the russians to withdraw from that plant. they want to allow the ukrainian operators to do it in security and they want the u.n. team to see that. so ukrainians recognize that president putin has undertaken terrorist acts against other parts of the country attacking civilian targets as we've -- as you've reported over and over. so this threat of terrorism of a dirty bomb as it would be, that's under the russian control. russians have that ability. >> ambassador taylor, you were one of the earliest people on our air to really help us understand why the ukrainians were so successful in the battlefield. they're training their practice and their military assistants from countries like the u.s. what is your assessment right now of where things stand on the
battlefield? >> so thanks, nicolle. yeah, i was always convinced and am still convinced that the ukrainians will fight and i'm convinced that they will win, and the reason is there are a lot of lot of factors, and there are men, materiel, morale. the ukrainians have more volunteers all the time. they're training more. the russians don't. the russians are having a hard time finding troops. mr. putin has recently suggested he is going to increase the -- try to increase the size of his army by another 10%. he can't make the current quotas. so on the men's side, the ukrainians have the advantage. on the materiel, the russians have used most of the precision guided weapons. they use dumb bombs now, as we see in the civilian territories. where as the ukrainians are using the weapons that are coming in from the united states and other nato nations extremely well. and i don't even have to say
about morale. the ukrainian morale is sky-high with all these weapons, with all this effectiveness. and the russians are in bad shape on morale. >> we will keep watching it and keep covering it. we're grateful to you for your help. thank you for spending some time with us. >> thank you. >> a quick break for us. we will be right back. ♪ well, the stock is bubbling in the pot ♪ ♪ just till they taste what we've got ♪ [ tires squeal, crash ] when owning a small business gets real, progressive gets you right back to living the dream.
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just wrapped up a fantastic interview with a senate candidate with all the buzz, pennsylvania democratic candidate jon fetterman. he had a high profile scare in may, a stroke. dr. oz is now using that as part of his sales pitch, even taunting fetterman about his recovery. here is fetterman in his own words on just how he is doing. >> she did save my life. and that's the truth. she recognized that i was in the middle of a stroke. and even at the time, i was still committing to wanting to go to a campaign event. and the only lingering issue, as every now and then i will have auditory processing, and i might miss a word every now and then. or i might mush two words together. but that's really the affect. >> does that mean you're having any neurological problems? i mean, to not be able to hear a word here and there, one might think there is other problems besides just that or it's connected to something more serious. >> it's just that. it's basic auditory processing.
i'm expecting to have a full recovery over the next several months too. . >> stroke in may. now just four months later he is poised to earn a senate seat in a key swing state. the voters sent him there. catch more of steph's great interview on the 11th hour with stephanie ruhle. quick break for us. we'll be right back. us we'll be right back. but aarp has never run from a tough fight. they stood with their 38 million members and said, "enough." enough of the highest prescription drug prices in the world. together, we forced the big drug companies to lower prices and save americans money. we won this fight, but big pharma won't stop. so neither will aarp.
i'm katie phang in for ari melber. we're going start tonight with the fallout from the doj's legal bombshell about those classified documents found at mar-a-lago. the doj including this picture in the filing late last night. it shows documents seized from trump's florida home earlier this month. many of the documents have clear classification markings. you can see here "top secret" and "secret." i'll have more on what this photo reveals in a bit. the doj writing in the filing they recovered 13 boxes containing more than 100 classified documents, including some at the most restrictive levels. the filing noting, quote, certain documents included additional sensitive compartments that signify very limited distribution. emphasizing even the fbi personnel reviewing the documents, quote, required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain ones.